Does Your Baby Have a Round Head?
A surprising number of babies develop a flat spot on the back of their head.
This problem is more common than you think. Healthy Canadian 2-month-olds were examined for head shape. More than than 47% had some flattening at the back of their heads! In a related study we found similar results in an online study of babies from various countries — 35%. Such flattening, known as plagiocephaly, is usually mild, but in some cases can be severe. Why is this happening?
It’s an Unexpected Consequence of SIDS Prevention
About 30 years ago an Australian researcher, Susan Beals, found a link between babies’ sleeping on their stomachs and the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Sleeping on the tummy was more dangerous. Beals’ research led to public health campaigns that encouraged parents to sleep their babies on their backs. Most have followed this advice, and the number of sudden infant deaths has been halved in many countries. Hurray!
Parents avoidance of stomach-sleeping meant that many babies are spending most of their time lying on their backs, even when they’re awake. In the first months a baby’s skull is very soft, and it can be molded by external pressure. If a baby is lying on their back on a firm surface, there is pressure on the back of their skull. Too much back-lying can lead to flattening at the back of the head.
Prevent a Flat Spot on Your Baby’s Head
The good news is that you can do something to stop flattening. Watch the following video and learn about simple baby care practices that will vary your baby’s head position. Moreover, you can take these steps at home, and they’re free. It’s important, though, that you start as soon as possible.